2020’s been a wonderful year for Netflix and fans of the content the streaming service has to offer, with blockbuster originals and dramas alike dropping left and right such as the likes of Start-Up, Enola Holmes and Emily In Paris.
Coming to end the year off well, new series Alice in Borderland dropped on 10 December to the welcome of fans who love a good Japanese thriller. If you’re looking for a new series to dig into or are still considering watching it, here’s 10 facts about Netflix’s new baby that’s gaining sure popularity.
1. Based Off A Famous Manga
Just like many popular franchises like Battle Royale or Attack on Titan, Alice in Borderland is actually a real-life remake of the popular Japanese manga, similar to a comic, of the same title.
Written and illustrated by Haro Asu, the manga was first published in Shogakukan’s Shonen Sunday S magazine, a magazine which features manga comics, and ran from November 2010 to March 2015. Thereafter, the series moved to Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine from April 2015 and continued all the way until March 2016.
The series was then compiled into 18 volumes of books which were released from April 2011 until April 2016 and received massive popularity in Japan.
Naturally, people would then start thinking of adapting such a famous manga into other forms on screen, as is what usually happens, so…
2. It Was Also An Anime
Yep, back in 2014, Alice in Borderland got adapted to an OVA, or original video animation.
While animes are typically distributed for broadcast on TV or in theatres, OVAs are usually released straight on tapes or DVDs for distribution, and the Alice in Borderland remake falls under the latter category.
However, it had only three episodes, leaving fans of the manga wanting more from an adaptation, and well, Netflix took the chance.
3. Well-Known Director Of Adaptations
Oftentimes, fans of an original book series or manga series are left disappointed with an adaptation or remake, for it’s common that the original source material doesn’t get adapted exactly the way it is.
But this time, the director in charge of Alice in Borderland‘s remake is Shinsuke Sato, who’s had multiple other film adaptations under his belt, including Bleach and Kingdom, both of which are wildly popular manga series in Japan.
So there should be some credibility to the quality of this remake, right?
4. And Likewise, Famous Actors
Besides having a renowned director helming the production, the lead roles are also well-known stars in their own field.
Playing the lead role of Ryōhei Arisu is Kento Yamazaki, an actor and model who shot to fame after playing L in the live-action series Death Note and the lead in the Japanese remake of hit drama Good Doctor. He was also the lead role in Kingdom, the remake that the same director Shinsuke Sato worked on.
As for the female lead in the role of Yuzuha Usagi, it’s played by Tao Tsuchiya, who had actually worked alongside with Kento Yamazaki as a lead in anime Orange – so Alice in Borderland would be a reunion for both of them.
5. Filmed Before COVID-19
Gone were the days where we needed to imagine empty streets and a raging virus out to get everyone, prior to the normal days we know now, where it’s no longer an imagination.
Alice in Borderland was filmed before COVID-19, and its dystopian setting led critics and fans alike to wonder if people would still choose to watch a series with depressing themes as such in the midst of a scary pandemic. The worry was for naught, however, since viewers were still interested in the story, depressing or not.
6. It’s About A Survival Game
While our world is fighting for survival through the means we know of like hogging masks and scrambling for toilet paper, Alice in Borderland tells a survival story of three friends who, just as they started to get tired of life, gets whisked into a dystopian version of Tokyo where they would have to play games to fight for their lives.
Arisu and his two friends Daikichi Karube and Chota Segawa end up having to play these dangerous games as directed to them by a voice in the sky, and alongside female lead Usagi, they try to find out who’s the mastermind behind these games and a way to stop it.
Although it sounds similar to The Hunger Games and Battle Royale, hey, everyone loves a good survival story.
7. …That Means There’s Death
The way of life simply means that when there is life, there is also death.
Alice in Borderland touches on dark themes and raw human emotions while the characters go through these tough trials, which makes the show pretty grim as compared to other shows with similar concepts.
No spoilers will be given here, but there are some pretty disturbing death scenes and suicidal themes, so you may want to be careful before diving in if these aren’t up your alley.
8. You Get To See An Empty Tokyo
It’s hard to imagine one of the world’s most sleepless cities completely empty and devoid of people, even though the streets have been mostly deserted during the peak period of COVID-19 infections in the country.
However, Alice in Borderland‘s universe shows us just that – a completely empty Tokyo, save for the likes of the players, scenes that we usually wouldn’t be able to see in real life.
One of the world’s most famous intersections, Shibuya Crossing, wouldn’t be anything impressive without the throngs of people crossing it in multiple directions, more crowded than any NTUC FairPrice outlet when Singapore just got into DORSCON Orange.
You may be wondering, just like many others, as to how they were able to film at a completely deserted Shibuya Crossing then – the prominent scenes were actually filmed at an open set lot at Ashikaga Scramble City Studio, which had a replica of Shibuya Crossing.
The more you know about movie magic.
9. Ranked High Worldwide
This adaptation of Alice in Borderland was so well-received that the series managed to rank on Netflix’s Top 10 lists of more than 50 countries, clinching the top spot in some Asian countries such as Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong and of course, Singapore.
However, while popular in many countries, the series has yet to break into the Top 10 lists of the US, UK and Australia, some of Netflix’s biggest markets. It managed to emerge as 7th on the Canada list, though, so it still remains to be seen how well the series will eventually perform.
10. There Might Be A Season 2
And as with every good series on Netflix, the question that people most want to know after finishing it is – when is the next season going to come?
Although nothing has been set in stone about there being a Season 2 of the show, many are optimistic about the possibility of one.
While the series covered about 31 chapters of the original manga, there are still 33 remaining chapters to go, and surely that must have its place in the adaptation, right?
In the end of the series, a mysterious woman named Mira appears to tell the players that the game has just begun, and that she will see them in the next stage of the games – leaving the ending open to a possibility of more in a future season.
Eagle-eyed fans also spotted many buildings in the background of the final scene having advertisements for 2021, which led to speculation that if there was to be a Season 2, it would be in 2021.
Because with the world raging outside, nothing’s better than immersing ourselves in another worse world on our screens to distract ourselves from the busy real world, right?
Featured Image: Alice in Borderland